S+L logo

ADELAIDE: Day 3 — The Excommunication Chapel

July 23, 2008
blmckillopdisplay.JPGToday we visited a chapel in Adelaide where Blessed Mary MacKillop received her excommunication from Bishop Sheil, who was the Bishop of Adelaide at the time.
The WYD patron profile of Australia's saint states: "The zeal of saints often raises criticism. And Mary was the recipient of uncertainty and even jealousy from those around her, including the local clergy and some sisters within her own community. This led to the point of her excommunication by the Bishop of Adelaide."
Bishop Greg O’Kelly, an Auxiliary Bishop in Adelaide, described it dramatically in his interview as a moment that seemed paradoxical. It tore at Mary’s heart but drew out such love and respect for her Bishop. He gave us a copy of her letter to Fr. Woods written the day after she received her excommunication. Bishop O’Kelly imagines that she was writing this letter in the second-floor dormitories attached to the chapel on the ground floor. There was a little window that looks right to the tabernacle below from the dormitories, from which Mary would look out from time to time to see her Beloved in the Tabernacle.
“My dear Father, I think I had better describe to you the exact way in which I felt from the time I heard that I was excommunicated. Though obliged to go to bed, it was about 3 o’clock (am) before I could sleep. I thought of the awful nature of the sentence, and all that I had ever felt when hearing of such things before came back to my mind. …… When, the next morning, I was called into the presence of the Bishop, I felt, whilst in the community room, confused, lonely and bewildered…… From that moment until the screams of the Sisters roused me, I really felt like one in a dream. I think I seemed not to realize the presence of the Bishop and priests, I know I did not see them, but I felt, oh, such a love for their office, a love and sort of reverence for the very sentence which I then knew was being in a full force passed upon me. I do not know how to describe the feeling but that I was intensely happy and felt nearer to God than I had ever felt before…”
The matter of the excommunication was soon cleared up and Mary was able to obtain canonical recognition for her Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart (the Josephites).

Related posts

Today we bring you the highlights of Pope Francis' visit to Latvia and exclusive interviews from the CCCB Annual Plenary Assembly. ...read more
"We have to leave our fears behind" Homily of Pope Francis at Mass in Tallinn, Estonia
FacebookTwitter
Read the full text of Pope Francis' homily at the final celebration of Mass during his Apostolic Journey to the Baltic States. ...read more
"Learning to trust is an art" Pope Francis to young Christians in Estonia
FacebookTwitter
Read Pope Francis' speech to the young Christians of Estonia, encouraging them to be fearless in following the Gospel and reaching out to others in love. ...read more
The Importance of Self-criticism and Humility
FacebookTwitter
Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B – September 30th, 2018 The biblical prophet is one who has received a divine call to be a messenger and interpreter of the Word of God. The word that ...read more
Blessed Paul VI: The Helmsman of the Vatican
FacebookTwitter
Fr. Thomas Rosica, C.S.B reflects on the life of Blessed Paul VI, and his hope and dream of a lasting justice, and peace for humanity. ...read more